Jake..::.. Mr. Invicible
15.1 Hand Gelding
Paint / Quarter Horse? Your guess is as good as mine.
Roughly 24 Years Old
8 Years ago my father bought him for $25, with intentions for him to be a police horse
He failed, and became my Gymkhana/Barrel Horse
Now we are attempting to become Jumpers

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Wanted to be Free

Novels played a big part in my dreams. The books of my childhood were that of adventures with horses (surprise, surprise). Some of my favorites was Pony Pals, The Black Stallion Series, and others I can't remember the name of. I always imagined being able to swing up on my nobel steed with no tack and gallop into the sunset. This notion was one that never really left me and got me into some trouble and had my poor father worriedly watching my progress. I always wanted to go faster, more reckless...I wanted to tame the wild beast and be one.

The first step in this process was to get rid of the saddle. Bareback was first on my list. So to properly concern my father, not only did I want to ride farther and farther away from his view on our property, I wanted to take the saddle off as well. So I put Jake in a bridle, climbed onto the fence and hopped on. I started slow. It was such a relief that Jake was round compared to the old, sway-backed ponies I had rode with my instructor. Jake was nice and round...and easy to slide off of. So I took it slow, I would spend laps doing circles around the pasture. I soon learned how to balance without touching Jake with my lower legs, as any contact meant for him to speed up. He was sensitive enough that any slight movement from me would send him off. I learned to be calm with my seat and my legs, to control them by keeping them off his sides while staying balanced.

Though I did progress slow, I never stopped progressing. Soon I started trotting bareback (though I'm 70% sure I skipped to cantering first, Jake was bouncy as heck) then moved up faster and more technical. Soon I found myself lazy and not even wanting to pull out the saddle, so riding bareback became my style. I would trail ride, gallop, and train bareback. I developed a good seat, anything I could do with a saddle I could do without. It came from balance, as I couldn't really grip with my legs.

I recently went to a trainer to work on my own equitation for english and the trainer surprised me by saying that she thought I had a very faulty sense of balance and that if the horse did anything by surprise I would fall off, all because I didn't use my calves when I rode. She said the horse would crow hop and I would be a goner. I didn't say anything but laughed in my head. I have been through some crazy stuff bareback and have never fallen off. I guess thats one thing I have to give credit to Jake, he gave me the confidence to ride bareback and in that I was able to establish a balance not depending on how hard I can grip with my legs. Not that it does any good for my eq, I have many years of removing the habit so I can stop gripping with my knees.

Anyhow, after some time I got tired of hopping on a fence to get on Jake bareback. He learned quick that if he sidestepped away from it I couldn't get on. Doesn't matter what I did he would sidestep two steps with his hindquarters. No amount of gentle reprimands, tough love, and working got him to stop...He would just as calmly move over anyways. Even if I stood with a lunge whip on his opposite side and smacked him till no end to move over. He would look at me in the eye and say "Nope". So I had a change of plans. I had to learn to mount from the ground, like the cowboys just run...and swing up!

So I grabbed a fistful of mane would take a few running steps and LEAP...and then crash into the side of Jake. I spent hours trying hard as I could...days went by and I kept getting closer and closer. Jake was amazing, every day he would stand there as I pretty much ran into his side repeatedly. Though even he couldn't cope with my nonsense forever. I had to of been my 400th try on the third day when I managed to swing one leg over, and was trying to pull myself up when Jake swung his head around and bit me right on my butt. It wasn't hard, didn't even leave a sore spot. But I was so surprised I fell right into the dirt at his feet. He was staring down at me sheepishly, I could just imagine him thinking, "I can't take it anymore sorry." That was the only time Jake ever thought/attempted to bite me. He hasn't made any move since then to even indicate that he was thinking about it. I guess he had enough. (I know I would have too!) Shortly after that I mastered the swing up. It comes in very handy and is a nice way to impress other people. ;-)

I always smile when I think back to all the times I would ride around with no saddle, I went through many pairs of jeans because the dirt would lighten the color of my jeans and wear them down faster. My mother started giving me 'no bareback' pants when we would go shopping for school. I never seemed to mind the dirt butt back then either, walking around stained all down my legs. Yet that is how I grew up running wild and crazy with my wild and crazy horse. 

2 comments:

  1. Great equestrian blog! Why not come along and post this at Haynet an Equine Social Blogging Network -http://hay-net.co.uk/ Hope to see you there!

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  2. I love stories like this, I was glued the whole way through, great job!

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